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Bible from a historical perspective.

So after I had deconverted from Christianity my friend bought me an apologetic Bible. The problem that I have with apologetics is that (to steal wording from E.P. Sanders) it is defensive rather than constructive. Apologist are not interested in finding the truth but rather defending their own version of it.

I've been researching the historical Jesus more and more and thought it would be a neat idea to have a historical bible, somewhat like the apologetic bible, geared more toward the NT. For instance, it would have a verse, and then historical commentary from various scholars on how historical the verse is.

I realize this would be a big project, but was wondering if anyone would be interested in helping to create a somewhat of a wiki type site where we can gather contributions from various people.

Thoughts or suggestions?

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level 1

Bart Erhman has written my favorite books on NT history. I strongly recommend Misquoting Jesus.

level 1

Check out the Jesus Seminar. They worked very hard at something along those lines. Not so much a verse by verse commentary but, rather, experts voting to try to get an idea of which verses are considered authentic and which not so much.

level 1

Look up "The Access Bible". I used it in a college level Bible class before, one that looks at religion from a historical truth perspective. It's very reliable IMO.

As the top comment mentioned, looking into Bart Ehrman is good too...he wrote the textbook in said Bible class, and I found it very informative. Probably one of the most objective looks you can get.

level 2
Original Poster1 point · 6 years ago

Thanks, just ordered a copy from Amazon.

level 3

No problem. The Access Bible is NRSV, which is a very accurate translation compared to more theological Bibles (they even have alternate translatons to words in the footnotes on each page), not to mention it has a lot of sidebars that tend to explain stuff historically to a degree. Very good Bible, a major step above the more theological Bibles Christians often use. You should like it. I have the older version of it, but the new version should be just as good if not better.

level 1

If you enjoy the historical bits, I suggest looking up Old Testament historical/textual criticism (deriving changing practices though time via the texts is interesting to me). I started with looking at New Testament historicity and analysis, but the OT stuff is just much, much more interesting, IMO.

level 1

Asimov's Guide to the Bible is pretty good.

level 1

Highly recommend "Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture" ~ Marvin Harris

tl;dr : Jesus was akin to a Palestinian freedom fighter, follower of John the Baptist - in the middle of the timeline of the Jewish struggle against the Roman occupiers, before Titus and son leveled it. A very interesting perspective, using actual Roman history and layering it on the Biblical text.

level 1

Well, it's a lot less insane than Conservapedia's attempt to utilize the '"best of the public" to render God's word into modern English without liberal translation distortions.'

I think it could work if it was done by suitably qualified scholars but I am suspicious of any public wiki that attempts to be an authority on anything.


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